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Enes Kanter Freedom reveals Turkish government put $500K bounty on his head, may sue NBA

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Former NBA center Enes Kanter Freedom has had a bounty put out on him by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government price as much as 10 million Turkish lira, or about $500,000, for information resulting in his capture.

Freedom is on the country’s 2023 most-wanted terrorists list as he has been famously outspoken regarding Turkey’s human rights abuses through Erdogan’s government. He told the Recent York Post that he came upon concerning the bounty every week ago.

“Before the bounty, Turkish intelligence were after the people on the list, but now everyone seems to be after them because they need the cash,” Freedom told the Post.

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Enes Kanter Freedom, whose human rights advocacy has ruffled feathers, hopes to bend UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet’s ear about her China visit.
(FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP via Getty Images)

On top of that, Freedom says he’s looking into suing the NBA, which he says has blackballed him following his protests against China.

“I’m waiting for the fitting time,” he said.

Freedom hasn’t held back his thoughts on Erdogan throughout his NBA profession, calling him a “dictator,” and even going as far to say he’s the “Hitler of our century.”

Freedom is on the terrorist list together with real terrorists, others which have spoken out about Erdogan and his government, and multiple journalists. Just this past yr, the variety of journalists which were put in jail doubled.

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“Due to my platform, at any time when I say something, it goes in every single place, and the Turkish government hates that,” Freedom told the Post. “They’re really sick of it, they usually said, ‘Enough is enough,’ and doing whatever they’ll to shut me up.”

Freedom, 30, most recently played 35 games with the Boston Celtics last season on their run to the NBA Finals, where they lost to the Golden State Warriors. But Kanter isn’t on a team now, and he suspects it’s because of his criticism of President Xi Jinping and the Chinese Communist Party.

The NBA has a powerful relationship with China, where basketball is a particularly popular sport. Freedom also said things about Nike because of their manufacturing deals with China, and the sports brand has large ties with the league as well.

LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Enes Kanter #00 of the New York Knicks exchange words in the first half at Madison Square Garden on November 13, 2017 in New York City.

LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Enes Kanter #00 of the Recent York Knicks exchange words in the primary half at Madison Square Garden on November 13, 2017 in Recent York City.
(Elsa/Getty Images)

Freedom has worn shoes with messages that included “No Beijing 2022,” “Free Tibet” and more. He said pressure from the NBA was placed on him to take them off.

Freedom was traded from the Celtics to the Houston Rockets, but they dropped him quickly after the transaction.

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“The NBA isn’t going to confess it, but I feel I’m being blackballed,” he told the Post. “I’ve had many conversations, and everyone seems to be saying the identical thing: ‘Your profession has ended due to your China comments.’”

“They’re a 100% American-made organization, but they’re being controlled and run by the largest dictatorship on this planet, China,” he continued. “How can China fire an American citizen from an American organization? That’s unacceptable.”

The Swiss-born, Turkish-raised player became an American citizen in 2021, and he added Freedom to his name. He currently lives in Washington, D.C., where he’s in “constant contact” with local authorities and the FBI because of this of being on Erdogan’s list.

“I’m being protected 24/7,” Freedom said.

American basketball player Enes Kanter Freedom speaks during an interview with AFP at the United Nations Office in Geneva on April 5, 2022.

American basketball player Enes Kanter Freedom speaks during an interview with AFP on the United Nations Office in Geneva on April 5, 2022.
(FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP via Getty Images)

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“I’m speaking out because I’m not the just one on that list. There are such a lot of journalists, so many activists, and so many athletes, but they aren’t as well-known as me. They’re way easier targets — they usually’re alone on the market.”

Scott Thompson is a sports author for Fox News Digital.

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